The US and Russia have at least one thing in common: They’ve both
fought protracted wars in Afghanistan without positive results.
While the US still seeks a military victory in Afghanistan,
Russia pulled out nearly three decades ago and has since sought a
non-military way to influence the war-torn country — and it
appears to be paying off.
“The Russians are ramping up political, economic and
propaganda activities to improve their image and reestablish
their influence amid pervasive corruption that is impeding
progress in Afghanistan,” Arturo Munoz recently wrote in a RAND
The Kremlin appears to be aiding the Afghan government and
the Taliban, effectively hedging its bets in the event one side
emerges victorious, Munoz wrote.
Russia has aided the Taliban in its fight against ISIS —
although the two militant groups reportedly work together at
Moscow also recently gave the government
10,000 Kalashnikov rifles, pledged economic
support for the country’s housing sector, reopened a Russian
cultural center, and is investing in about
150 other projects that could
boost Afghanistan’s economy and help Russia regain its moral
“According to an experienced Afghan businessman, the
growing Russian engagement in Kabul business ventures and other
activities produces negative comparisons with Americans,” Munoz
Russians reportedly now walk the streets without fear or
the need for escorts, while Americans have or need the exact
opposite, Munoz wrote.
While Russia appears to be using soft power to their
advantage, the US is still using hard power. There are nearly
10,000 troops still
on the ground, and the Pentagon announced on
Tuesday that it would be deploying 100 more Marines to the
The US is spending about $3.1 billion a month on the war,
which has killed more than 2,200 US personnel and wounded 20,000
more since it began in 2001.